Global Fund ‘Urgently’ Needs $700 Million To Fund Projects Up for Approval This Year
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Thursday said that it "urgently" needs at least $700 million to fund projects that are up for approval this year, Reuters reports. The amount is the gap between the total amount asked for in project proposals set to gain approval this year and the $300 million the fund has left to spend this year, according to Reuters. Global Fund Executive Director Richard Feachem said, "We have a shortfall of about $700 million and much work is going on to bridge that gap" (Reuters, 6/5). The Global Fund board on Thursday agreed at its three-day meeting in Geneva, which ended on Friday, that it would limit proposals for the third round of grants to the amount of funds currently available based on the proposals' merits, the Financial Times reports. The fund has received more than 200 proposals from 85 countries requesting $2 billion over two years, and about half of those proposals will likely be recommended to the board for approval (Williams, Financial Times, 6/7). The fund has so far awarded $1.5 billion to 153 health programs in 92 countries (Reuters, 6/5).
The Global Fund welcomed new pledges, which have increased by $1.2 billion to $4.6 billion through 2008 in the week since the G8 summit in Evian, France (Global Fund release, 6/6). Feachem said that the United States and France have led the way in making pledges to the fund, and the European Union, Italy and Britain have made new pledges since the G8 summit. However, the fund needs $3 billion to cover grant rounds during the remainder of this year and next year (Associated Press, 6/6). Feachem said, "In authorizing up to $1 billion for its 2004 fiscal year, President Bush and the U.S. Congress challenged other donors to respond, and they have. [French] President Chirac has led an effort for Europe to raise $1 billion and called on public and private donors outside the U.S. and Europe to also raise $1 billion" (Global Fund release, 6/6). Feachem added that he is "more optimistic the money would be found" following the summit, where member countries agreed to "step up support" for the fund, according to Reuters (Reuters, 6/5). HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, chair of the Global Fund board, said, "I am pleased with the important progress we made" during the meeting. He added, "But we recognize that there is much work to be done, especially in the areas of increasing contributions and developing innovative, aggressive strategies to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria" (Global Fund release, 6/6).
The Global Fund on Friday signed $60 million in grant agreements for Romania, Bulgaria, Cuba and East Timor, according to a Global Fund release. Romania will use $16.9 million to increase access to TB treatment. The nation will use another $21.8 million to address HIV/AIDS in the country, allowing the government to boost "prevention efforts in priority areas" and strengthen treatment, care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS. Bulgaria's $6.9 million grant will "cover all remaining program funding gaps," according to the release. Cuba is the first Latin American country to receive approval from the second round of Global Fund's grant applications, according to the release. Cuba's $11.5 million grant will subsidize the country's HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs, including training counselors and peer educators and boosting access to antiretrovirals. East Timor will use its $3 million to help control malaria, as well as increase early detection and treatment and promote community education (Global Fund release, 6/6). The Global Fund on Saturday also awarded a $15 million grant to Sri Lanka for TB and malaria prevention, Xinhua News Agency reports. Of those funds, $8.5 million will go toward malaria prevention and $6.2 million will fund TB prevention, according to Ministry of Health and Nutrition spokesperson Kapila Bamunuarachchi (Xinhua News Agency, 6/7).